Over the weekend, Outside Lands–San Francisco's marquee music festival–served us more than just a quality lineup for its 8th anniversary. Beyond Elton John and Mumford and Sons their existed a place so apropos for San Francisco that one could not fathom it existing at a festival outside of the Bay Area; Wine Lands.
If there is something more San Francisco than spending $32 on an eight ounce glass of wine, we'd definitely like to know. With over 30 vineyards setting up shop in this wino's oasis one could spend a car payment and still have not even put in a dent in all of the options. Wine ranged from $2 to a one ounce taster to $32 for an eight ounce pour.
Inspired by this, I set out on Sunday with $50 hoping that I could further understand what makes something of such small proportions worth so much money and why I have been doing so wrong all my life by only purchasing Charles Shaw on a regular basis. Also I was hoping my media wristband could get me a few hookups. Spoiler alert: It did not.
A cashless area where Bison Bucks take the form of currency instead of cash; each festival attendee has the opportunity to preload their wristband before the weekend even begins. A “buy 75 Bucks get 5 Bucks” free was a ridiculously high-class discount (if such a thing exists) offered to those who preloaded their cards before Friday. With a $3.50 service charge to regain all of your unused bucks after the festival, Outside Lands pretty much guaranteed that all of your pre-purchased Bucks would be spent before the weekend was over.
Getting drunk off wine is unusual for me at music festivals just because it tends to not pair with dancing to Hot Chip for an hour so well. It takes the right type of vibe one to be in the market for drinking wine all day. Sitting down humming along to every Elton John song. Yes. Dancing for 2 hours to Swedish big room house superstars Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso. Pass.
One thing that became strikingly apparent to someone who is not well versed in wine is that the story behind the vineyards ultimately became the more important facet of what I was tasting. Pellegrini Wine Company for instance, started out in the '70s as one of the first Pinot Noir estates in the Russian River Valley and traces back its heritage to bootleggers.
Something more my pace, I decided to take part in the Back Wine. A three hole mini golf course paired with wine tastings was an absolute blast. It was the perfect way to get those uninitiated into the spirit of drinking wine. By making the process of drinking wine fun and educational it really got younger people into the idea of wine.
The day was overwhelmingly pretentious but still offered a great, once-in-a-blue-moon experience. While my budget did not afford me many $32 pours, the price tag seemed not to bother those currently in a more affluent position then myself. With Outside Lands already skewing to an older audience it is no wonder this has become a main attraction for the average attendee. Pretentious or not, singing along to “Tiny Dancer” with a good wine buzz was definitely a reward in itself. While it was enjoyable to live the high life for a day, I think I will be heading back to Trader Joe's when I get home.